The Sean Whetstone Column

West Ham United Supporters' Club - 70 years of history - Refusing to fade and die

West Ham United Supporters’ Club also known as the Hammers Social Club was formed 70 years ago in 1947.

It was founded by six members with their headquarters in a front room in Wigston road which was the home of the then Club Secretary Mr Syd Russell. Their existence came into being after a public appeal from the then West Ham board of directors who invited suggestions on how to repair the Boleyn Ground which was badly bomb damaged by a German flying bomb in 1944.

A few years earlier during the 1939/40 Football League season only three matches old when World War Two broke out. The League programme was immediately abandoned as the Government introduced measures to restrict large gatherings at cinemas, race-tracks and, inevitably, football grounds. Regional competitions were set up in place of the Football League, with West Ham United taking on local rivals from across London and the Home Counties between October 1939 and May 1946. Football League competition only resumed for West Ham after the Second World War with a trip to Plymouth to face Argyle on 31 August 1946 in the Second Division.

Relations between West Ham board and the Supporters’ club didn’t start off well with the directors writing to the newly formed Supporters’ club on 17th December 1947 suggesting the newly formed social club had no special status and deserved no special treatment so a relationship with the board was neither required or wanted. Six months later the social club requested a face to face meeting with the board but again the directors rejected the requested the request referring the club to the letter they wrote last December. The relationship at the time was described as distant at best or hostile at worst.

The social club wrote again and asked the West Ham directors to agree to a name West Ham United Supporters’ Club or West Ham United Football Supporters’ Club. In the board minutes of the time they recorded "We, West Ham United FC were not interested in what tile they gave themselves’

Despite various knockbacks, the social club grew and they moved to Hartley Ave School around 1948 and opened up membership to everyone. They stayed at the school until the 1964 FA Cup final after which they bought three caravans which they used around the Boleyn Ground.

The second annual dinner of the Supporters’ Club was held at Robin Hood Hotel with 120 paying members for the gala event. Membership at that time stood at 400 and a local newspaper article talked about increasing membership to 1,000.

Probably the most influential figure in the history of the West Ham Supporters’ Club was local politician Councillor Tom Jenkinson who became chair of the Supporters club in 1951

Thomas Alfred Jenkinson (28 November 1911 – November 1994) was a Labour Party politician who was active in the East Ham area. His working-class roots came from the Popular workhouse where he lived with his mother and father in 1923. He broke free of the workhouse in 1926 when he found work as a delivery boy.

He was a member of East Ham Coropration, he was the last mayor of East Ham in 1964-65 and was elected unopposed to the successor Newham London Borough Council to represent the South Ward in 1964, he was re-elected in 1968, 1971 and 1974. Following boundary changes in 1978 he was elected as a councillor representing Custom House and Silvertown Ward. He also sat as a member of the Greater London Council representing Newham North East from 1973–1977 and Newham South from 1977–1981.

In 1990 he returned to Newham Council as a councillor for South Ward. He held the seat at the 1994 borough council election, dying in office later that year.

It was Jenkinson who finally forged a close relationship between the social club and the directors through then West Ham chairman Reg Pratt. They were to set up a joint fundraising campaign with the Supporters club running jackpot, lottery and pools competitions. The supporters club purchased a caravan for £250 to make sales from.

It was the supporters club which founded the Hammer of the year award at the beginning of the 1957/58 season when members wanted to recognise the outstanding player with an official award. The first recipient was defender Andy Malcolm, whose form helped Ted Fenton’s side to win the Division Two title on the final day of a memorable campaign.

The first cheque to the West Ham United Football Club Ltd Building Fund was paid over in 1961.

In 1962 the Supporters Club gave the club over £4,000. In the following 18 months, £23,000 was given to the board at West Ham which they spent on
improvements to the East Stand, to the training ground at Chadwell Heath and the building of the new ‘A’ block in the West Stand which opened 1965.

By 1964 the Supporters’ Club Annual Dinner invited West Ham Chairman Reg Pratt as their main speaker with the FA Cup on show on the main table.

When a piece of land next to became vacant they purchased a mobile dining room from Wimpy which they used as a makeshift clubhouse.

In 1972 a piece of land was leased by the then chairman Mr Tom Jenkinson with a mortgage from West Ham to build the existing clubhouse in Castle-street.

On 25th March 1993, the clubhouse was refurbished and the social club entered a new lease with Newham council for 99 years with £30,000 up front and a peppercorn rent of five pence per year.

In 1980, when West Ham won the Cup, Tom Jenkinson borrowed the FA Cup and a lot of the Club members had their photos taken with it.

By May 2016 the Supporters’ club had a thriving membership and on the last game at the Boleyn Ground against Manchester United, they took £15,000 in takings at the club.

In contrast, when West Ham moved to Stratford in August 2016 they took just £21 in takings when West Ham took on Bournemouth for the first game at the London Stadium.

The club continued to lose £7,000 per month last season until the bank reserves dwindled to nothing and a member stepped in to personally bankroll them.

Last month the club sadly closed their Castle Street premises doors after a health and safety audit.

Membership secretary Paul Walker recently told the Newham Recorder

“We came in here and we thought that some of the stuff didn’t look very safe, so we agreed to have a health and safety expert come in,” he said.

“I think we underestimated the problems. The maintenance was not up to date, so the insurance certificate was totally invalid.

“We opened the boiler cupboard and there were a load of fag butts in there. Then we found out that the flue was not connected to the boiler so it is seeping carbon monoxide and there are asbestos panels in there and someone has been smoking.

“The boiler is condemned, the fire doors are not compliant. I remember Grenfell and we didn’t want it to happen here, so as a committee we unanimously decided to close,” said Walker. We had 500 or 600 people here on match days, but the fire precautions were not connected, so what might have happened doesn’t bear thinking about.”

“We reckon we need a couple of hundred thousand to get things right,” said Paul Christmas. “You have to think about bringing things up to date. We are not in it for the glory or for personal gain, we just want to save this club"

“The question most people have asked us when we were looking for a venue close to the new stadium, was ‘Aren’t West Ham helping you?’ said Christmas.

The Supporters’ Club have set up a Crowdfunding Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/whufcsc

2017 Membership is still open for Supporters’ club and new members can sign up at https://www.whufcsc.com/membership-1

With the closure of the Castle Street premises, the new committee has set up a pop-up bar close to the London Stadium for members on match days.

The new venue at Stour Space is open from 10am until 10:30 pm for weekend matches and 4pm until 8pm for weekday matches. Breakfast will be served from 10am weekends with food available throughout the day to members. Matchday four pints jugs will be available as well as a bottle bar.

Funds raised from the new matchday bar will be used to help maintain and keep the Castle Street premises and also to help fund a possible permanent venue closer to the London Stadium. More details at https://www.whufcsc.com/stour-space

Supporters’ club committee member Paul Christmas thinks the Castle Street premises is worth saving telling the Newham Recorder:

“Remember there are 850 flats going up just outside and we want to be an asset for the local community as well as West Ham United supporters,” he said.

“We are refusing to fade and die and we have to give it our best shot. I think there are West Ham fans out there who want to help save us.”

My thanks to Nigel Kahn and Paul Christmas for much of the background in writing this article.

Come on you Irons!

Sean


The Sean Whetstone Column

Is Slaven Bilic's time up?

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At the end of August, media speculation suggested that Slaven Bilic had four games to save his job after we embarrassingly lost 3-0 to Newcastle.

His reputation was probably at an all-time low at that time with many social media polls of over 6,000 fans suggesting 75% wanted him gone.

We are now four games on and I ask the question again, has Slav done enough to save his job for this season?

OK we had one Premier League win over Huddersfield, it was a gritty game and we won but we required a lot of luck and it remained goalless for the first 72 minutes.

We had the less than convincing goalless draw against West Brom at the Hawthorns with players playing out of position again then the 3-0 win over hapless Bolton in the League Cup who possibly have more important things on their mind considering their league position.

Slav continuously insists he is not playing Chicharito out of position on the wide on the wing and that in fact he is just off the main striker. He also defends Andy Carroll saying it will take him a few games to get to his best but equally admits it is difficult to play Chicharito with Arautovic, Antonio and Carroll in the same team.

Yesterday he was at it again, I had been tipped off before the team was announced that Michail Antonio had received a knock in training and was a doubt for Saturday. He passed a late fitness test but I was told that he was only a 70% chance that he could get through the 90 minutes. Antonio didn’t look his normal self from the start and you could tell he was in pain. It was no surprise to me when he pulled up after 28 minutes.

Later Slav would deny to reporters that he took a chance with Antonio insisting his injury was something new.

Next came his decision to bring on Andy Carroll as a replacement for Antonio, again I had been told that Caroll had a knock in training and that was one of the reasons to drop him to the bench. I was told they didn’t want to risk him for 90 minutes and wanted to rest him. In my view, Bilic could have bought in Andre Ayew as a replacement for Antonio and kept the same formation but instead, he showed his favouritism for Carroll and changed the team around him pushing Chicharito out to the wing.

Then was the bizarre decision of starting Aaron Cresswell instead Arthur Masuaku. Most fans know who has the form at the moment but Bilic appears to have his favourites and he is stubbornly loyal to them.

Last week I spoke Peterborough director of football Barry Fry who was a manager at Birmingham City under Sullivan, Gold and Brady.

He told me what I already knew that the board are backers and not sackers and had always been loyal and good to him even after they bought in Trevor Francis to replace him.

They have stayed friends for life and he was a guest of Sullivan and Gold in the director’s box at the London Stadium against Huddersfield.

You can hear the full 10 minute with Barry Fry at www.moorethanjustapodcast.co.uk

If I have one major criticism about the West Ham board it is that they hang on for too long before making their decision and they are too loyal. I understand that Slav will not be offered a new contract and his contract will run down to the summer like Sam Allardyce’s contract was allowed to expire.

Bilic knows it, the players know it and we know it. The decision has been made and he is a dead man walking in my opinion.

Personally, I think we need fresh ideas and a new manager at the helm for the remainder for this season but I doubt much will happen despite speculation in the Sun today that replacements are being lined up. My source tells me no-one is lined up and no discussions have been had to replace him.

It appears this story will have no closure until the summer.

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The Sean Whetstone Column

Will it Ever End? The West Ham Pantomime Continues: No 94

Anyone from the outside of the West Ham family could be forgiven that our current situation resembles a pantomime at the moment at best or a complete laughing stock at worst.

On transfer deadline day we had the first act of the Hammers pantomime with the Diafra Sakho show. The Senegal striker decided to follow Payet in claiming he had to return to France for personal reasons so decided to skip training and fly to France to undertake a private medical. He then stayed in France on transfer deadline day in a failed attempt to force through a move. The real pantomime villain behind all of this is his agent Mark McKay, son of Willie McKay. He was the architect of bringing Payet to Marseille and taking him back there again so it should have come as little surprise with his involvement.

The West Ham board held a telephone call in which they unanimously agreed to stand firm and not sell their striker. By the afternoon of the transfer deadline, day and Mark McKay briefing Sky Sports News every move Sakho and McKay jumped on a plane back to Stansted with a quick detour to Chelmsford race course. McKay’s horse ‘Siege of Boston’ was running in the 3.20. The horse won at 9/2 while Sakho stayed in the car park speaking to Club Secretary Andy Pincher but the player is said to have put £100 on his agent’s horse pocketing £550 in winnings. A non-runner in the race was called Happy Hammer. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

Despite the club secretary telling Sakho that no directors were available, McKay and Sakho went to the London Stadium late evening. David Sullivan was on holiday in Marbella, David Gold was at home in Redhill and Karren Brady was out of the office on non-West Ham business. This didn’t deter Sakho who sat down with Andy Pincher to be told there was nothing that could be done.

Sakho returned to training on Friday with his tail between his legs to be read the riot act by Slaven Bilic and told to knuckle down. He was offered a new contract or a move in January if plays at least 50% of the games between now and January and scores at least six goals. In many ways, this is the last chance of his career despite so many other second chances with the Hammers.

Not to be outdone by the Sakho and McKay show, enter act two of the pantomime with the David Sullivan and Sporting Lisbon show.

Sullivan made an ill advised and poorly timed statement on the official website which not only appeared to throw Slaven Bilic under the bus but upset Sporting Lisbon at the same time. Sullivan said:

“Overall Slaven is happy with the business we have done during the summer transfer window,” he told whufc.com. "We received the manager’s wish-list before the window opened and we have managed to get the top four players on it. It is no secret that we made a club record bid for Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho but unfortunately that offer was rejected a couple of weeks ago.

“Late last night Sporting Lisbon made contact to accept the original offer, but unfortunately it was just too late in the day, and we simply did not have enough time to put the player through a medical. We were not prepared, as a club, to buy a player for that amount of money without him having gone through adequate medical checks.
“Grzegorz Krychowiak and Renato Sanches were both offered to the manager before their switches elsewhere, but he told us that he is happy with the squad he has.

“As a Board we are behind Slaven, and he believes he has the tools to turn around our form and rectify our disappointing start to the season.”

Sporting’s president Bruno de Carvalho responded saying he had not received a single concrete offer for their defensive midfielder William Carvalho.

“There was no single proposal for William Carvalho, we did not refuse an offer or anything, there were approaches, but not proposals! Why did he play in the National Team? No one said he had a permanent injury”

Sporting Lisbon went one step further when their director of communications Nuno Saraiva has hit out at West Ham co-owner David Sullivan

Speaking on Facebook Saraiva said:

“Mr David Sullivan lies. Sporting Club de Portugal, as was said by its president, did not receive any proposal for the player William Carvalho. The football industry is not the stage of an adult film in which all obscenities are allowed. For this reason, the owner of a club requires much more than this intellectual pornography.Mr Sullivan has a duty to prove what he says. For this reason, Sporting Clube de Portugal challenges him to publicly show the proposals he says have been made as well as the evidence that Sporting CP has received them.”

The communications director admits that agents may have been offering William around, but insists that was nothing to do with Sporting Lisbon. He explained that

“We have nothing to do with the actions of businessmen or relatives who live on the expense of players and who are offering them from club to club at a price, without a mandate, as if they are cheap merchandise in a supermarket, thus devaluing the player and the club, and creating lamentable situations that have already forced, in this case, Sporting Club de Portugal to take drastic measures to defend against these characters that are parasites in the lives of some players.”

In an ongoing war of words, David Sullivan spoke to me yesterday at Claret and Hugh to give his version of events.

He flatly denied claims from Sporting Lisbon that West Ham never made bids for the defensive midfielder for William Carvalho saying bluntly:

“They are NOT TRUE!”

He added:

“But he (Bruno de Carvalho) can’t admit publicly that he was prepared to sell him. Our bid was submitted via the player’s agent and our negotiators in Portugal. We also put in a written bid.”

Sunday Evening Update:

Writing via his personal Twitter account, owner’s son David Sullivan Jnr said: ‘West Ham are commencing legal proceedings against the communications director of sporting Lisbon as a written offer for the player was made. he continued ’To Bruno de Carvalho the president of sporting Lisbon. To say we never made an offer is nonsense and serious libel.’

The Telegraph claim West Ham have an email showing that they did, indeed, on August 10, contact Sporting and their president Bruno de Carvalho to make an offer for William Carvalho which amounted to a minimum €25million (£23million), to be paid over three years, with additional terms and bonuses “to be discussed”.

David Sullivan has confirmed he intends to go ahead with legal action against Sporting Lisbon and their director of communications, Nuno Saraiva, who claimed West Ham made no formal written offer to sign the midfielder William Carvalho.

Saraiva also dubbed the Hammers co chairman a “parasite” and “liar” which Sullivan claims has left him no alternative but to sue.

Speaking exclusively to Claretandhugh on Sunday night he said:

“I will be starting legal action against Sporting Lisbon and their media director.I hate suing people in football, but the accusation is so strong we have no alternative.”

However, he says he is not looking for any financial reward adding:

“We’ll just look for a retraction and apology and a payment to charity. I’m not looking for financial gain.”

Anti board feelings are at an all time high and anti manager feelings are at an all time high with no final act to the pantomime in sight at the moment.

Keep calm and continue supporting West Ham

COYI

Sean


The Sean Whetstone Column

The David Gold Interview

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I write this column on a sunbed by the pool in Costa Del Sol. From a selfish point of view, I have no problem with playing the first four games away from home. It means for once I don’t miss the first home game of the season because of a family holiday and I miss all the train chaos around South West Trains engineering works at Waterloo over August.

I have of course been watching all the games from Spain as the international coverage is much more widespread than our domestic showings so I don’t need to miss a second of the action from my sunny family holiday. When the third goal went in at Newcastle I droned by sorrows by diving in the deep end of the pool. I even managed to record our West Ham podcast Moore Than Just A Podcast from Spain thanks to a great new technology called Zencastr so it sounds like I am still in the room with George, John and Nigel.

Just before I jetted off to Spain I spoke to West Ham Co Chairman David Gold for an hour long exclusive interview just one day before West Ham kicked off their Premier League season. We talked about a range of subjects and Gold took the opportunity to clarify comments he made on social media about West Ham’s youth players.

In June the Joint Chairman said on twitter

“It’s hard for a teenager to break into the first team and it becomes even harder as the first team gets better but they are, not teenagers forever. dg”

Gold started by telling me:

“Just remember what I said, I simply said and I put in brackets ’teenagers’ Teenagers breaking into the first team in the Premier League, the greatest league in the world is difficult, I never said it was impossible, I said it was difficult but that’s not to say when you get to 20 or 21 it starts to Moorethanget a bit easier. If you take the first game of the season on Friday night you look at that game and tell me how many teenagers were playing in that game, I don’t know but I am pretty confident that they were no teenagers playing in that game, were there 20 year old’s? well possible but that is not a teenager, a teenager is 17, 18 or 19.”

“I think we have one of the best group of young players (at West Ham) for a long, long time without me being specific, some have come have gone through the academy, some have been bought in but we have some very exciting young players, but are they going to get in the team at 17,18 or 19 ? I doubt it but what they are being groomed to give them the opportunity to break into our team when they get in their twenties and they we will see them blossom”

Asked about the age old question whether he would sell up he replied:

“I think David Sullivan has made it clear that he has no desire to sell his shares, I have made it clear time and time again that I have no desire to sell my shares.

“My love and passion in my life all revolve around West Ham, I have achieved many different things in my life and the most driving force in my life is my football club, our football club. Why would I sell? It’s my life, If I sell, what do I do? Go fishing? I just love the involvement, I have fulfilled my wildest dreams.”

“Here I am now a joint owner with my friend and colleague. Why would I want to sell? The only time you would sell is in the event that you believed a buyer could do a better job than you but at the moment we are doing a decent job.We have never had an offer, we have never had a situation where for the best interest of the football club we should sell, that has never occurred.”

“Until that happens we don’t have an issue, even then I would want and I am sure David (Sullivan) would want also to be part of a new regime if ever there was such a thing but right now we are very very happy and we think we are doing OK. It is difficult, we have probably been through the most traumatic event in probably the history of our football club in migrating to a new stadium and we think we are doing OK”

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Eighty-year-old Gold also mapped out his succession plan whilst doing everything possible to live until he is 100. Asked the question he said:

“The situation would be that my daughters would inherit my shares as indeed young David Sullivan and young Jack will”

“Jack is clearly being groomed as you can see and his passion for the football club is quite clear, my daughters are business women and their contribution in the future I think would be very valuable and I could see both the Sullivan boys and the Gold girls forming a board that would be well balanced.

“Don’t forget my daughters are passionate fans as well. They have obviously got responsibilities of running Ann Summers the business but that wouldn’t preclude them from being on the board at West Ham at some time in the future as the young Sullivans would part and parcel of it.This is how David Sullivan and I see the succession but you never know, there is a long way to go, hopefully, I am going to live to 100 and I am doing everything possible to make sure that happens.”

“They talk about West Ham being A family, the board is also a family when you take the Sullivans and Golds, Its a family thing and with West Ham claiming we are Moore Than A Football Club and you often hear Mark Noble talk about the family, the West Ham family, I think that we are part and parcel of that.

Gold explained the situation around the share holder loans David Sullivan and himself have loaned the club and justified the interest they receive on them saying the football club is better off while they are worst off from the arrangement and he withdrew the money from other investments as he didn’t have the money lying under the bed contrary to popular belief. Gold said:

“When we came into the club, the club had some very caustic debts where they were paying interest at 10% and not only were they paying a high rate of interest but they were caustic in the sense what could happen there is if the club couldn’t meet the repayments or the interest they could foreclose and put the club in administration. If the debt is out debt, we are not going to foreclose so we are a safer lender because we are only ever going to take our repayments and don’t forget if you go back to the original (loan) these debts, the interest on these debts were at a very high rate. The reason was, people didn’t want to lend money to West Ham United football club 10 years ago so the interest rates were very high. We replaced those high-interest rates with a lower interest rate so the minute we put the money in and paid off those debts, West Ham were paying 10% now West Ham United football club, our football club is now only paying interest at 6%.”

“To loan West Ham money, it wasn’t money that was under the bed and gave to West Ham and now we are earning 6%, that’s not true. To be able to fund those loans, I had to remove investments that were returning me 10% plus so I cash in my investments that were showing me a 10% minimum and I loan that money to West Ham at 6% so I am now 4% worse off, West Ham are 4% better off because they were borrowing money at 10% and now they are borrowing at 6% so the football club is better off, it is more secure, the only losers are David Sullivan and myself because we are loaning money at a lower interest than we were.”
“These investments are basically the inherence of my daughters and I have a responsibility to ensure that I am doing sensible things. I am not doing what Mark Goldberg did, I am not doing what Simon Jordan did which to take their wealth, pump it into the football club and wake up one morning and their £36m that they sold their business for has disappeared. Now, what use is Mark Goldberg’s Crystal Palace, now what use is Simon’s Jordan now to Crystal Palace.”

You can listen to Part two of the full David Gold interview at moorethanjustapodcast.co.uk below

Part one of the Interview can be found “HERE”: https://www.acast.com/moorethanjustapodcast/season-7—-episode-1—-were-back-with-david-gold-part-1


The Sean Whetstone Column

A canned history of London Stadium's retractable seating

A plan to downsize the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games is “flawed” and “not in the interests of the East End”, a London Assembly committee said way back in 2010 before the London 2012 Olympics were .

The then committee chairman and West Ham fan Len Duvall said the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) should have carried out an “open and thorough analysis” of various options earlier. He said: “Put simply, an elite 25,000-seat athletics stadium is not, and was never going to be, in the long-term interests of the East End or of the taxpayer”

Fast forward to 2013 and The London Legacy Development Corporation started its search for a contractor to deliver £20m retractable seating system at the former Olympic Stadium. The tender was eventually awarded to a company Alto Seating who designed the seating with SAPA UK providing the Aluminium retractable decks and GallowGlass tasked with the moving of the seats. It was originally budgeted around £300,000 to move the seats.

A case study on The Welding Institute website" “Sapa was contracted to provide seating decks as part of the redevelopment of London’s Olympic Stadium, the centrepiece of the London Olympic Park and one of the venues for this year’s Rugby World Cup. Sapa Extrusions, based in Harderwijk in the Netherlands, had to deliver 3500 retractable decks for the stadium.The seating decks were to be made from extruded aluminium, incorporating joints made using friction stir welding (FSW).”

In 2015 Primary contractor Alto Seating went into voluntary administration weeks before the Rugby World cup owing GallowGlass £712,000 and leaving SAPA to carry on the project alone.

In 2016 LLDC CEO, David Goldstone gave evidence at the London Assembly Budget Monitoring sub-committee about the rising cost of the London Stadium and the impact of the failed retractable seating system.He confirmed an extra £21m was spent on the doomed seating system last year and estimated costs could reach as high £8m per year to move the seats backwards and forward unless a better solution can be found.

Speaking about the increase Goldstone explained: “A chunk of it was to do with the very unfortunate failure of the seating contractor who had been hired to install new seating system that happened just before the Rugby world cup last summer. We were left with a partially installed system so we had to step in and make it ready for that event. The (retractable seating) had been a joint venture, one partner did the main design and another installed the system, one partner went bust and the other partner inherited it but wasn’t a suitable long term contractor. They took it forward during 2016 but we had to settle out with them in 2016 because they weren’t a suitable long term”

On the question of annual running costs of the retractable seating costing up to £8m per year to run Goldstone admitted that was an estimate of moving between football mode and athletics each year. He said it was an estimated cost but it was not a confirmed amount and they were in a tendering process at the moment for a long term operator to move the seats and they just received the tenders in at the last few days. Goldstone confirmed “We are not pretending it’s not an issue but we know what the confirmed costs will be in the near future”

On 1st February 2017 Stadium owners E20 signed a five-year contract with PHD Modular Access Services Ltd of which Project 7 construction is part of their group.

Last month London Stadium seating contractors Project 7 construction published a video on youtube to show how the lower tier seats move from football mode to music concert mode. The video below shows seven rows of seats removed from the East stand before the West stand is pushed back section by section on air skates. The north and south lower stands are lifted and moved in modules by cranes. The north and south lower stands are lifted and moved in modules by crane with the video proudly claiming 500 unique crane lift movements are required for the operation. Possibly the most shocking fact of the whole video is the boast that it takes 32,000 man hours to achieve the full move.

Costs of the new contract have not been revealed despite a freedom of information request from myself but the quoted 32,000 hours at London Living Wage of £9.75 per hour would cost £312,000 per move so manpower would cost close to a million without the cost crane hire and associated costs factored in.

The new five-year seating contract can be viewed HERE

This week Project 8 was busy converting the London Stadium back to football mode following the completion of 2017 IAAF World Championships on Sunday.

Stadium owners E20 Stadium LLP are contractually obliged under the contract with West Ham to return the stadium to football mode by August 25th this year.

In a Freedom of Information response received this week, E20 Stadium says: “All four of the stadium’s stands are scheduled to be in their football positions by the 25 August. The stadium will be ready for West Ham’s first home match on 11 September 2017. Given that the stadium will be in football mode prior to West Ham’s first home match, no breach is anticipated.”

Long gone are the promises of ‘State of the art retractable seating’ which has since been rebranded as relocatable seating.


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